Engaging children in culture, arts


Photos By RAPAEE KAWI

The recent Sarawak Children’s Arts Festival was a fun time for participants to showcase their prowess in cultural performances and test their skills in traditional games. 

Altogether, 635 youngsters from 20 primary schools, one secondary school and two cultural associations took part in the festival at the Batu Lintang Teachers’ College auditorium in Kuching. 

TRADITIONAL: Sarawak Malays playing their rebana.

It was organised by the state Culture, Arts and Heritage Department to inculcate awareness and appreciation of the performing arts among schoolchildren and promote unity by encouraging them to learn the traditional dances and music of the different ethnic groups. 

The participants were members of cultural and arts clubs set up by the department in schools as an avenue for students to engage in cultural and arts activities. 

During the one-day festival, the participants competed in traditional games such as congkak, klereng (rolling a bicycle rim) and juggling a bundle of chicken feathers with their feet. 

Stage performances took place in the afternoon. 

CLASSICAL: Children from the Chinese community performing a dance.

Dressed in traditional costumes, groups of schoolchildren performed cultural dances of Sarawak’s various ethnic groups such as the Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau and Malay. Also staged were plays and dikir barat performances in line with the festival’s aim of promoting theatre, dance and music. 

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office Fatimah Abdullah, who closed the festival, said it was relevant to the state’s efforts in developing balanced human capital. 

“The Culture, Arts and Heritage Department’s cultural and arts clubs programme in schools will help us develop students who are not only academically capable but also appreciative of the arts,” she said.  

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